6. GAD’s Top Picks: National Pavilions
By NiccolòAcram Cappelletto
Published on September 5th, 2022
Eden-Like Garden preserved for the Chosen onesCurated by Mohamed Shoukry with artists Weaam El Masry and Ahmed El Shaer
The Egyptian Pavilion consists of an artificial intelligence media installation representing the female womb. Upon entering the room, the viewer finds themselves before “AI-generated images projected on huge pink organic forms” (edelikegarden.com) that cover a wide range of topics from birth to the universe. The use of algorithms in art becomes in the Egyptian pavilion a propulsion of images that are not random but selected purposefully in an unexpected encounter.
RomaniaCurated by Cosmin Costinas and Viktor Neumann featuring Adina Pintilie
You Are Another Me - A Cathedral of the Body
Pintilie brings to the Romanian Pavilion a multi-media film installation with the idea of the body at its centre. You Are Another Me - A Cathedral of the Body investigates the power of bodies’ intimacy in light of a pandemic that caused social and physical distancing as well as a war in Ukraine that is bringing destruction. While tackling issues of gender, body normativity, and sexual representations, Pintilie ‘transforms the historically loaded pavilion into a contemporary cathedral that celebrates the body and human connections beyond any preconceptions’ through the use of film (Romania Pavilion).
The Sámi PavilionCurated by Katya García-Antón, Liisa-Rávná Finborg and Beaska Niillas exhibiting Pauliina Feodoroff, Máret Ánne Sara, Anders Sunna
Commonly known as the Nordic Pavilion, Norway, Sweden, and Finland changed the approach for this Biennale’s edition by featuring the Sámi Pavilion project with artists Feodoroff, Sara, and Sunna. The word “Sámi” refers to the indigenous populations of Sapmi inhabiting the areas of the countries represented and the Kola peninsula in Russia. The artworks range across performance, video installation, sculpture, painting, and installations offering an encompassing vision of the ‘relations across generations’ (The Sámi Pavilion). The theme of indigeneity is investigated through the lens of the current changes due to the climate crisis that are causing the loss of Sámi knowledge and worldview.
United States of America
Simone Leigh: SovereigntyCurated by Eva Respini featuring Simone Leigh
Sovereignty is the title of the personal exhibition of Simone Leigh taking place at the United States of America Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. By exhibiting a group of new artworks, Leigh explores the ‘construction of Black femme subjectivity’ (USA Pavilion). The exhibition threads between the ritual performances of the Baga populations in Guinea, material heritage from Black American communities in South Carolina, and the 1931 Paris Colonial Exposition. With her monumental sculptures, Leigh presents a message of self-determination against structures of oppression. Leigh’s artworks are also present in the exhibition The Milk of Dreams and her contribution was recognised with the Golden Lion for the Best Participant in the International Exhibition of this Venice Biennale edition.
The Importance of the Origin Will Be Imported by the Origin of the SubstanceCurated by Alejo Ponce de León featuring Mónica Heller
In a series of 3D-video installations, the Argentinian Pavilion presents its work of Heller in an alienating experience while focusing on the absurdity of the material world. Heller builds a “sensory landscape” (Argentinian Pavilion) that mixes the real with the symbolic from the artist’s personal experience of the world. The video Il Piccione Parlante (The Speaking Pigeon) best represents the ideas of the pavilion. The short film is a work of animation in which the bird “recites an absurd and fiery soliloquy” (Argentinian Pavilion), pointing out a heavy criticism of some of the most relevant issues in today’s capitalistic societies.
Black Star - The Museum as FreedomCurated by Nana Oforiatta Ayim featuring Na Chainkua Reindorf, Diego Araúja, and Afroscope
The Ghanaian Pavilion presents young artists Afroscope, Chainkua Reindorf and Araúja to tackle issues of marginalization and artistic expression. The title refers to the black star in the national flag and the presence of emerging art gives the direction of the exhibition’s future thinking. Paintings, installations, and drawings are the media used in the pavilion and altogether they offer an exciting and promising view of Ghanaian young art in a world that, as pointed out by the curator Oforiatta Ayim, sees them as ‘not being established, “developed” enough, not having enough funds’ and so on.
Paradise CampCurated by Natalie King featuring Yuki Kihara
Paradise Camp is the exhibition of Yuki Kihara for the New Zealand Pavilion. By showing the colonial legacies on gender, especially the impact on indigenous societies, Kihara, an artist of Samoan and Japanese origins, leads the visitor on a journey across media and human representations, in which the role of community becomes the protagonist to fully accept one’s identity and to build societal bonds. As Jim Vivieaere describes, “Kihara steers us towards a geo-poetics of place, eliciting our capacity to imagine relationships anew while forging radical forms of togetherness and solidarity” (Paradise Camp).
Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished BookCurated by Ute Meta Bauer featuring Shubigi Rao
The Singaporean Pavilion presents the third stage of the ongoing artistic project of Shubigi Rao about “the history of book and library destruction, its impact on humanity, and the futures of knowledge” (Singapore Pavilion). The exhibition presents as an installation in the shape of a book in which the visitor walks through its pages. At the end of the visit, the film Taking Leaves “comprises existing research and recent footage” as a “visual manifestation” of Rao’s practice (Singapore Pavilion). Investigating the possible lives of histories through books, Pulp III represents an attempt to build an inclusive environment for those histories that end up neglected, if not erased.
8.Pavilion of Singapore, Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished Book, Photo by Andrea Avezzù. 2022. Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia.